A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at High 5 Heights, 12213 S. Harlem, Palos Heights, on November 29. (Photos by Kelly White)

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at High 5 Heights, 12213 S. Harlem, Palos Heights, on November 29. (Photos by Kelly White)

High 5 Heights retail shop opens in Palos Heights

Spread the love
regional 12 5 high 5 heights4

High 5 Heights at 12213 S. Harlem, Palos Heights, provides a new era of opportunity for adult students with special needs within the District 218 community.

By Kelly White

The first retail store to train, employ, sell products made by adults with special needs opened its doors in Palos Heights.

The store, called, High 5 Heights at 12213 S. Harlem, Palos Heights, provides a new era of opportunity for adult students with special needs within the District 218 community.

High 5 Heights will sell goods created by students and graduates from Eisenhower, Richards and Shepard high schools with special needs from the district’s Adult Transition Program, including handmade bracelets from Jem Flores.

“This is so cool to be able to sell something I made,” Flores, 20, of Blue Island, said.

regional 12 5 high 5 heights9

Palos Heights Mayor Bob Straz proudly welcomed High 5 Heights into the Palos Heights community. 

Some other products sold include handmade wood working items, crochet blankets, paintings and drawings, and more. The store also sells goods from regional and national brands created by adults with special needs, along with High 5 Apparel, the 10-year-old small business operated by the Adult Transition Program.

“High 5 Heights merges our communities together and provides the opportunity for us to grow and shop together,” Adult Transition Program Coordinator Alison Wilde said. “Students are gaining critical skills to be independent adults.”

“This aspect, with our students working in the community, truly makes this an exciting and meaningful enterprise,” Associate Superintendent for District 218, Dr. Sue Feeney, said.

As Wilde and Feeney said, High 5 Heights offer a truly unique working and shopping environment, because there is currently no other district that features a retail store to provide the experiences for skill development, employment, personal and social growth, and marketing of goods.

High 5 Heights provides job training for students and graduates of the ATP in heat transfer press, laser engraving, embroidery and other skills.

Students voted on the name for the store with High 5 coming from the existing small business, and Heights for reaching new job training heights. At the time of name selection, they didn’t know Palos Heights would become its home, Feeney said.

regional 12 5 high 5 heights10

Jem Flores, 20, of Blue Island, shows off bracelets she made for High 5 Heights.

Then plans for the project sparked last academic year when District 218’s Director of Special Education Kerri Piscitelli and Feeney set out to find a place to serve for such an operation. They drove District 218 neighborhoods to locate an appropriate property and discovered the Harlem storefront.

When they called a realtor to ask about the Harlem Avenue location, they discovered she already possessed a district connection as a parent of Shepard students.

Superintendent Dr. Josh Barron quickly greenlit the store and architects developed plans, and District 218 maintenance staff renovated the space, making the dream a reality.

“This store embodies community,” Barron said. “It’s important to prepare kids for the future and that’s exactly what High 5 Heights is doing. It gives them a chance to be the employer, while at the same time, teaches them life, business and entrepreneurship skills.”

Director of Special Education for Community High School District 218, Kerri Piscitelli, agreed.

“Expanding our program into the community provides amazing opportunities for our students,” Piscitelli said. “It’s a retail store that involves students directly from the conception of its products to the end, when they are sold.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on November 29 and Palos Heights Mayor Bob Straz was happy to welcome the store to the community.

“High 5 Heights is a wonderful addition to Palos Heights,” Straz said. “It gives students the ability to earn a living and promotes self-esteem.”

Stephanie Lopez, who taught herself how to crochet by watching YouTube videos, could not be more excited to see her own masterpieces in the store.

“It’s really cool to be involved in something this big,” Lopez, 19, of Chicago Ridge, said.

High 5 Heights will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday as a retail store open to the general public.

regional 12 5 high 5 heights5

High 5 Heights at 12213 S. Harlem, Palos Heights, provides a new era of opportunity for adult students with special needs within the District 218 community.

1 Comment

  1. Rafael on December 10, 2023 at 8:41 pm

    Amazing. We need more opportunities for children with special needs to access the workforce and this is such a great example.



Local News

Joey’s Red Hots will open its seventh location on Monday at 9135 W. 159th St. in Orland Hills. (Photo by Steve Neuhaus)

Comings & Goings: Joey’s Red Hots to open Monday in Orland Hills

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Co-owner Anthony Nardo is not one to miss an opportunity to expand the reach of the Joey’s Red Hots empire. The Orland Park-based chain of restaurants has set Monday, February 26, as the opening date for its newest Joey’s location, in Orland Hills. Nardo and his partner Nick Iozzo jumped…

Funeral2

Obituaries February 22, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the loveDONNA J. BAKER Donna J. Baker (nee Bjorklund), age 73, passed away January 28. Loving mother of Nancy (Frank Brown) Baker, Julie Baker, William (Shelley) Baker Jr., and Anthony (Krista) Baker; dear grandmother of Brittany Stutts, Christopher Brown, David Weeks, Robert Weeks, Richard Weeks Jr., Danielle Weeks, Alexis Siara-Chareun, Kayla Baker; cherished daughter…

Orland Park's Fawzy Hassan speaks to the Orland Park Village Board on Monday in front of a backdrop of posters of members of his family who served the United States in wartime. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

No ruckus this time between Orland board, protesters

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva More than 80 people crowded Orland Park’s Village Hall Monday night with many there to protest the village board’s decision not to draw up a resolution asking for a ceasefire in Gaza. Unlike a Feb. 5 meeting, in which there was yelling and chants and Mayor Keith Pekau having police…

Investigator Joel Frias holds the plaque that he just received from Police Chief Tim Denton (left) for being selected as "Officer of the Year." (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Worth approves new parking, traffic regulations

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle Two ordinances were passed at the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night requiring changes for pedestrian crossings and vehicular traffic. Police Chief Tim Denton said one ordinance needed to be amended regarding pedestrian and vehicular traffic. It needed to be made clear that individuals should not be walking along main…

regional palos heights logo

Palos Heights City Council rejects City Hall renovation

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Palos Heights aldermen rejected a $1.7 million renovation project for its aging City Hall building at a sometimes testy City Council meeting Tuesday night. Aldermen voted 5-3 to shoot down a plan that would have made some bathrooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, moved the Building Department back…

Flames lick the night sky Tuesday morning after a fire was reported at a home in the 14700 block of Holly Court in Orland Park. (Photos courtesy of Orland Fire Protection District)

Firefighter injured fighting Orland Park fire Tuesday morning

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong  One firefighter suffered minor injuries while battling a fire at a home in Orland Park early Tuesday morning. Orland Fire Protection District officials said the fire was reported at 3:35 a.m. on Feb. 20 in the 14700 block of Holly Court in Orland Park. The fire was brought under control…

CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound February 21, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Peggy Zabicki

Weather was sweet for Valentine’s Day

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . I hope everyone had a nice Valentine’s Day. The weather sure was nice. As my hubby and I drove around the neighborhood that day, we saw a lot of holiday merchandise for sale outside at street corners and…

Kathy Headley

Using Lent to help those in need

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . At this time of year, most every Christian faith takes part in the Lenten Season leading up to Easter, There are many different ways to do that, including giving up a favorite treat, attending…

Mary Stanek

We’re about to leap into March

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796 . One more week to get through this long, long month. While the weather has been cooperative so far, this February is exceptionally long. It is a leap year. Leap Day, Feb. 29, is…

Neighbors

With budget proposal and fiery address, Pritzker paints himself as progressive pragmatist

With budget proposal and fiery address, Pritzker paints himself as progressive pragmatist

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – In delivering his annual State of the State and budget address on Wednesday, Gov. JB Pritzker cast his administration as both progressive and pragmatic – a balance he’s worked to strike as his national profile has grown. Some elements of the governor’s proposed spending plan, like…

Budget reaction: Retailers, municipalities critical of Pritzker’s proposed tax changes

Budget reaction: Retailers, municipalities critical of Pritzker’s proposed tax changes

By ALEX ABBEDUTO, COLE LONGCOR  & JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – The annual process of negotiating the state budget kicked off Wednesday with Gov. JB Pritzker proposing a $52.7 billion spending plan that includes hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending and tax increases, particularly for businesses.  The governor’s proposal to…

Pritzker proposes over $2B in spending growth, backed by tax increases for corporations, sportsbooks

Pritzker proposes over $2B in spending growth, backed by tax increases for corporations, sportsbooks

By JERRY NOWICKI  Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Editor’s note: This story will be updated with more information on the budget and reaction from lawmakers.  SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday proposed growing state spending by over $2 billion in the upcoming fiscal year while making a handful of corporate, sports wagering and other tax…

Pritzker proposes $1.8B in spending growth, backed by tax increases for corporations, sportsbooks

Pritzker proposes $1.8B in spending growth, backed by tax increases for corporations, sportsbooks

By JERRY NOWICKI  Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Editor’s note: This story will be updated with more information on the budget and reaction from lawmakers.  SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday proposed growing state spending by about $1.8 billion in the upcoming fiscal year while making a handful of corporate, sports wagering and other tax…

Customers pay for utilities' lawyers and corporate donations. Advocates want to change that.

Customers pay for utilities’ lawyers and corporate donations. Advocates want to change that.

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com Illinoisans pay tens of millions of dollars each year to utilities to cover costs they accrue for lawyers, belonging to trade groups, making charitable contributions and purchasing advertisements meant to boost utilities’ public image.  Consumer advocates are pushing for a change to state law that would bar utilities…

Pritzker to call for health insurance reforms in State of the State address

Pritzker to call for health insurance reforms in State of the State address

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker plans to take on the state’s health insurance industry this year by calling for legislation to curb many of the standard practices they use to hold down costs and boost profits. He plans to outline those reforms in his State of the State…

Judge denies McCann’s request for home confinement, orders him held in custody

Judge denies McCann’s request for home confinement, orders him held in custody

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – After suddenly pleading guilty as his federal corruption trial was wrapping up this week, former state Sen. Sam McCann won’t be released to await sentencing, U.S. District Judge Colleen Lawless ruled Friday. McCann has been held at Macon County Jail since last Friday, when Lawless ordered…

Transmission line monopoly back on agenda at Statehouse after Pritzker’s veto

Transmission line monopoly back on agenda at Statehouse after Pritzker’s veto

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com A controversial proposal that would grant electric utilities more control over the construction of transmission lines is being revived in Springfield.  Rep. Larry Walsh, D-Elwood, who chairs the Public Utilities Committee in the Illinois House, was behind a push last year that would have granted a temporary “right…

Ahead of Pritzker’s budget address, pressures that mounted last year intensify

Ahead of Pritzker’s budget address, pressures that mounted last year intensify

BY JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Republicans in the Illinois Senate indicated Tuesday that their sticking point for budget negotiations this year will be the same as it was last year – state spending on programs for noncitizens and recent arrivals from the country’s southern border.  In what’s been a rarity over the past…

Pritzker to mull tightening fiscal landscape in budget address this week

Pritzker to mull tightening fiscal landscape in budget address this week

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Gov. JB Pritzker will give his sixth state budget address this week, laying out his plan for a fiscal year that government forecasters in November predicted is on pace for a near-$900 million deficit unless corrective action is taken.  Those same fiscal forecasters in the Governor’s Office of…